Chancellor Rishi Sunak ‘will warn economy risks reaching ”tipping point” if Cabinet doesn’t balance the needs of protecting from coronavirus with the damage caused by lockdown’
- Rishi Sunak will issue ministers with internal government forecasts on economy
- The Chancellor and Health Secretary to outline a model on economic aftermath
- It is understood there will be emergency Cobra meeting on lockdown Thursday
- PM closed the UK down on March 23 to try to stem the tsunami of Covid patients
- But the number of daily deaths has remained high, with the total reaching 10,612
- Learn more about how to help people impacted by COVID
The Chancellor is expected to warn of an economic ‘tipping point’ if the Cabinet does not balance the coronavirus lockdown with the financial damage it is causing.
Rishi Sunak will issue ministers with internal government forecasts showing a gloomy outlook for the economy if Britons remain shut indoors.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson closed the country down on March 23 to try to stem the tsunami of Covid-19 patients flooding into hospitals.
But the number of daily deaths has remained high, with 737 on Sunday bringing the total dead to a staggering 10,612.
Coronavirus cases have also continued to surge as 5,288 new infections yesterday brought the total to 84,279.
Rishi Sunak (pictured) will issue ministers with internal government forecasts showing a gloomy outlook for the economy if Britons remain shut indoors
The Chancellor and Health Secretary Matt Hancock (pictured) will outline a model on the potential aftermath of the crisis this week
The Chancellor and Health Secretary Matt Hancock will outline a model on the potential aftermath of the crisis this week.
The pair are ‘taking a holistic approach in trying to find the right balance’ between the health and economic impacts of the lockdown, a source close to Mr Sunak told the Telegraph.
But a senior Conservative MP warned: ‘If people are told to stay at home for another four weeks, it’s going to be really tough.
‘The tipping point is when there is no money in the economy to pay for it [the lockdown].’
It is understood there will be a Cobra meeting on the lockdown on Thursday after ministers hear from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies committee.
The Cabinet has divided into hawks who want to lift the shut down in a few weeks and doves who want to delay until late May at the earliest.
The Cabinet has divided into hawks who want to lift the shut down in a few weeks and doves who want to delay until late May at the earliest. Mr Hancock is reportedly a dove
Leading the hawks is Mr Sunak, who previously made ‘robust’ representations to ‘doveish’ Mr Hancock that the economy will suffer unless normality is restored.
Mr Hancock believes the protection of the NHS should be the overarching priority, but hawks have been alarmed by the problems stacking up in their departments.
Hawks hoped the lockdown could end by May 8, but doves cited the first day after the May 26 bank holiday as the earliest date for a phased return to normal.
According to one report, the PM is hawkish about the lockdown, and has been taken aback by how rigorously it has been observed by the public.
The Government has denied claims Whitehall officials have calculated up to 150,000 lives could be lost as a result of the lockdown.
It is worse than all but the bleakest projection if social distancing measures had not been introduced.
Cabinet minister Michael Gove has been described by colleagues as ‘doveish’ on the lockdown.
A source close to the Minister for the Cabinet Office said: ‘He is definitely keen on a clear path out of the lockdown, but at the right time.’
A source close to Mr Hancock said: ‘Lifting the lockdown depends on what the evidence shows us. We are nowhere near putting dates on things like that.’